The Beginning Of The End.

Ten months...seems unreal.  Today last year, we had just gotten home from our Make A Wish Trip, Tucker complained of his stomach hurting and was run down.  Easy to blame on a busy vacation, packed with fast food and fun, but I called the oncology clinic anyways.  After going over the symptoms and knowing we were checking into Doernbecher the next day for chemo, we were to watch him closely. Take some zophran, oxy and a heat pack.  If he didn't improve we would go to the ER. So we snuggled on the couch and Tucker pain subsided.  The next day we checked into the hospital for what we thought would be a typical 4 day stay and Tucker never left.  Our four day plan turned into two months, nearly to the day and I walked out of the hospital, surrounded by family but without my son. 

(Make A Wish Trip To LegoLand, 2010)

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Being Thankful

As many things have been this year hard to go through; this, of course, it one of them. The infamous year of firsts is finding it's way towards the end and I am finding that there is a heaviness on the horizon. This time last year my son was doing well, good spirits and given what he was going through, strong. Little did we know that this would be the last month for us to enjoy the sense of peace that had crept quietly into our lives.  Tucker was nearly done with his intensive treatment, we were moving into maintenance in the next month, we had stayed the course, fought the dragon, we could see that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and we were moving faithfully towards it.  None of us had forgotton that we were still fighting for Tuck's life but we finally weren't white knuckling it and holding our breath all of the time. It seemed that everything was going as planned.  Little did we know that there was a sharp corner that lay ahead on our path. One that would plunge us down a steep and slippery slope where not only were we white knuckling it and holding our breath again. We were stiff armed, eyes squinted, wincing as we recoiled from the impending doom.  All the while making deals with God for a miracle while bracing for the inevitable crash that would come from anything thing that found itself careening out of control.  Which suddenly became our lives, all of our lives.

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P's & Q's - Remembering 9/11 and Tucker

We will never forget.

So much has happened since I first wrote this, although I still like to share it every 9/11. I am no longer married and Tucker is no longer here with us....but as I read this I am still grateful for his patriotism and spirit. This event in our world shaped the little boy that he was and the man he would have become.

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Tucker & Hailey

Many of you have heard me mention some of the firsts Tucker accomplished in his last weeks on earth. Though his bucket list was limited because of our circumstances one of the most important thing on it was to send a real valentine to the girl he had a crush on. She was his best friend and her name was Hailey. For Valentines Day she sent him a family picture, which he hung in his room at Doernbecher. He had wrote her a letter complete with hand drawn and family pictures as well. This wasn't just a Valentine it was also a goodbye letter. He began telling her he would never forget her and ending it by telling her that he thought she was pretty. He entrusted his Aunt Deborah to hand deliver it to her.

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Life, Love, Family and Friends.

(Tucker and Dr Chang)

This picture means so many things to me...I see the look in his eyes, I don't see fear or anger and that impresses me. Tucker insisted on having a glass of sparkling cider with Dr Chang before they discussed his treatment plan. Tucker knew his kidneys were failing and he knew that the cancer had not gone into a second remission after his final chemo attempt, his counts had not returned and that the fungal infection in his blood was still uncontrollable. He had a choice to go into the PICU for a week straight of dialysis to clear high levels of toxins from his blood but that would do nothing for his counts, the cancer or the infection.  Nor would it guarantee that the kidneys would ever heal. Tucker knew he was not eligible for transplant nor would he survive that kind of surgery.  So with his wise old soul he decided he would rather not do any more proceedures and he asked us to call all of his family around him to celebrate with him his life.

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Five. It is hard to fathom that it has been five months since I kissed his sweet face, heard a giggle, a sigh or a cry. 150 days since I have smelled his skin, held him close and looked into his beautiful blue eyes.  There are times that like a sneeze, grief will overwhelm me and I find myself bursting into tears. Other times that I don't even notice my saddness until a tear drop quietly trickles down my cheek. I never thought I would laugh or be genuinely happy again, as if those emotion were stomped out of me.

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Tucker will always be my firework, my reason to move on and keep looking up. His spirit crackles and burns in my heart and soul. Every day he sets my feet on a path, the road is rocky and not with out scrapes and bruises but I am going in the right direction and that is all that matters.

Last year the we spent the 4th of July in Doernbecher. Tucker felt well enough to go out of his room to the skybridge that leads to the VA hospital and watch the fireworks from there. The whole Portland Metro sparkled as we could see bursts of color and light fill the horizon for as far as the eye could see. Like candy coated popcorn filling the dark night.


Hero's Among Us.

I get this note on my son's online guestbook for his obituary asking me to look at an ad on page A6 of the paper.  Sadly my first thought was that someone was using my son's condolence page to spam me.....who would do such a thing? Miffed I went to the portion of the paper that I had discarded, unread, and search for the ad in question. I had just purchased the paper to have a published copy of the small obituary that I could afford to run. Upon finding the cast aside section A, I flipped to page 6 and gasped....who would do such a thing? Tears filled my eyes as before me is the very obituary that I could not afford to run on my son's birthday.  Through an annonomous gift from someone identified as Team Tucker Admirer my words had found their way into the pages of The Oregonian. Feeling foolish for assuming the worst at first, may faith in humanity and it's gracious generousity bostered. I find myself humbled and blessed with a greatful heart. Your kind gesture speaks...no screams to my soul. To say thank you is not enough. I am reminded that everyday a hero emerges.....not always by leaping a tall building in a single bound but sometimes just by doing good for the sake of love and not asking for any credit. 

(Page A6, The Oregonian, June 2, 2011)
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(The obituary I was able to  run on page C7)


Picture of the obituary that will not run.....

Unfortunatly this would cost over $1000 to run in the Oregonian. At least I have a jpeg of it. I still plan to run one on Tucker's 12th birthday (June 2nd) I just have to rethink my plan a little.


Mother's Day

Today marks the first Mother's Day that I will spend without all of my precious children. While being a mother is a learn as you go task where we all fly by the seat of your pants rule by instinct and a deep rooted love for your babies, I believe that this last year had taught me more than I could ever have imagined about what it is to be a mom. The selflessness and determination.

(My Boys, Tucker and Brady)


True North

There is a sadness that covers me, like wet clothes, heavy and cold. The days drag by so slowly. I feel lost without Tucker. All this time I was trying so hard to take care of him and keep him safe. I never realized how much he was my true north. Without him I feel like I am wandering through each day. Part of me still hopes that I will find him and the other more reasonable half knows that I will not.  I miss him more than I could possibly say in these words. He was not only my son but my best friends and greatest teacher.  It just is so unfair that a light like his was snuffed out.

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Little Pieces

If I am not trying to keep busy, I catch myself feeling like I am breaking into tiny little pieces and chipped at the corners.  I feel numb and empty, like how you feel when you are hungry but without the hunger pain. Instead I feel like there is a thousand pound weight on my chest and something just knocked the wind out of me.  I feel blank...numb, afraid to feel any kind of emotion for the total melt down that it could ensue.  I suddenly feel like a total sham...everyone telling my how strong and brave I am. How proud of me they are but if they could only see inside, how tighly I am gripping onto the edges and plugging the holes. Bailing water as quickly as it is flooding in. 

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Taking it day by day.

When does the blueberry waffles, sun on your face and seeing your pets become more important?  I was asked this question tonight.  This last month has been devastatingly hard on Tucker's body. His vital organs are taking a beating, his bone marrow is empty and his blood is infected with a yeast infection.  The cancer is killing him and so is the treatment.  When do you say enough is enough? How does a mother logically do that? It is a parents instint to protect and help their child but when the doctors start having quality of life conversations with you it becomes very sobering.

(Tucker is battling a yeast infection in his blood.)